Ontario Nursing Shortage

  1. Just received the following press release from the RNAO:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Monday, July 16, 2001

    High patient satisfaction excellent news, but nurses paying the price; outcomes confirm problems with chronic nursing shortage

    TORONTO - Hidden behind the good news that almost 90 per cent (89%) of patients in Ontario rated their nursing care as excellent or good is the high cost that nurses often pay to provide that care, the executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) said in response to today's release of the Hospital Report 2001: Acute Care.

    "We are pleased - though not surprised - that patients rate nursing care so highly," said Doris Grinspun. "It confirms the continued commitment that registered nurses have to providing high-quality patient care," said Grinspun. "But that level of care all too often comes at a significant cost to nurses struggling to provide the best care they can while working in short-staffed hospital units across the province."

    Grinspun said it is important to pay equal attention to the high level of burnout and absenteeism that accompanies nurse-patient ratios in Ontario - the second worst in Canada. The reality is that overtime hours have skyrocketed and sick time is higher than ever. Indeed, Ontario spends close to $134 million a year in overtime hours, and close to $50.5 million in clearly related sick time. "These are the hidden human and financial costs," said Grinspun.

    The fact that almost one-third of patients complained that their call buttons were not answered promptly confirms RNAO's diagnosis of a chronic nursing shortage.

    "We have always said the quality of care is excellent; the quantity insufficient," said RNAO President Shirlee Sharkey. "It is crucial for the public, government and employers to understand that good nursing equals good health," she said.

    Sharkey said that research clearly shows that nurse-patient ratios directly affect the rates of complications and re-admissions, two areas of concern in this year's report card. A greater number of RNs leads to lower patient infections and lower re-admissions. As well, readmission rates are adversely affected by the lack of nurses available to provide adequate follow-up care in the community, she said.

    Sharkey said these - and other results - included in the 2001 report card would most certainly be improved with additional nursing positions. She acknowledged that progress has been made recently in this area, but Ontario still has a long way to go to reach the national average of nurses-per-capita.

    For more information, please contact:
    Sine MacKinnon, Director of Communications, R.N.A.O.
    416-599-1925 / 1-800-268-7199, ext. 209
    •  
  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   liliana
    Thank you for the latest news!
    Replies from the leaders we respect are great!
    I do have couple of concerns: talking about the
    nurse/patient ratio - does anybody know of the
    organization or a nursing interest group that has
    defined the "acceptable ratio"- so we all know the "standard" and we speak the same language?
    ( canadian - not USA - I know about the California
    study).
    Second -I have difficulty listening all the complaints about the shortage until I know even one nurse who is not employed ( and wants to work)
    and I do know number of them.
  4. by   Jay-Jay
    Very good question, Iliana!

    Anyone have an answer?
  5. by   omegabit
    The current shortage has been agravated by several factors I feel first thanks to not only the tory but the previous politicians in ontario Nurses both R.N. andR.PN. were driven both out of the country and out of practice. I am also slightly annoyed with the RNAO & ONA why because when they talk of only nurses making a difference it is to RNS they refer to and ignore the abilities of the other part of nursing the RPN. I wonder how much better nursing as a whole would be if 1 RPNS in active setting were allowed to do the type of care we give to stable clients in ltc settings eg med insulins dressing,orders leaving the Rns free to care for the truly unstable client . The biggest problem in health care across the country is nonregistered staff with out the education, ethical training to ensure good care
  6. by   BarbraJean
    This is wonderful to have a Canadian site. I'm a Home Care Nurse in Richmond Hill Ontario & Have been for 3 years, prior to that I lived through good times & the nursing drought. Along the way I managed to upgrade many of my skills so that now I am a very valuable commodity. However I will never ever go back to a hospital to work! Overworked undervalued & really underpaid. But part of my reason is precisly that RPN are used differently depending where they work. I don't feel they are a valued member of the health care team. As well as with R.N.s there just isn't enough R.P.N.s. We as a proffession have virtually given away piece by piece our profession thereby scaring away the ones who may be interested in our profession.We are so fratured that unless we get it togeather , work togeather & become politicalized we are going to be replaced by people taught how to do individual skills but not the why.forgive me if I rant, yes there is a severe nursing shortage, we see it everyday in the community and sadly I don't feel that it will be resolved any time soon. Perhaps we need to take a page out of Nova Scotia's nursing profession.
  7. by   natalie
  8. by   Cdn_Psych
    I think the editorial has it right. In my ward, people are working a lot of overtime. I have no idea where all these new nurses supposedly are and I suspect they exist only in the governments' imagination. All I see is the same old nurses working longer hours.
  9. by   nhcc
    My nursing career started as an RNA (RPN now), then back to school in my 30's to upgrade to a Reg. N., now on my way again with the BSc.N. My career path has been through long term care institutions, the hospital and home health care as an administrator. I've therefore been on both sides of the fence in many ways, hospital vs. homecare, union vs. management, acute vs. chronic.

    Some thoughts about nursing and the "nursing shortage"... Ontario as in most of the world is in the process of major change in the way health care is delivered. The probable high per centage of the future aging population (the baby boomers) as well as the impact of technology on general health outcomes is making us rethink the way health care is being delivered. This is an excellent window of opportunity of encouraging administrators to rethink the boundaries of employment.

    There are a good many experienced nurses sitting at home wanting to work, but not under the conditions generally imposed by employers. Many of the posts in this forum deal with job satisfaction and burnout. Very real considerations.

    Many nurses due to family or personal reasons, would be better suited with shifts that allow the flexibility to better manage all their obligations, however, administrators are often rigidly entrenched in their antiquated schedules.

    Nurses want respect, not just in "lip service", but in the more tangible aspects of knowing that when budgets must be revisted, their profession isn't going to be the first to be downsized, and the last to be acknowleged financially. Other professions have days that are paid to allow upgrading, why not nurses? Our profession demands (rightfully so) that we continually upgrade our education. Should this not be incorporated into our expectations of the employers?

    Nurses have traditionally been very quiet about their wants and needs, but if change is to happen, now would be an excellent time to stop sitting back complaining about conditions and start articulating concerns. Lobbying does work! Be proactive with the various Associations, the media, the administrators and the political representatives that make the decisions. Nurses must learn to speak for themselves, not allow others to assume they know what's best. A wise peron once said something to the effect of - you have no right to complain if you're not going to be part of the solution.

    How can the nursing shortage be helped? Entice nurses of all ages back into the workforce (back into Canada) with more respect and consideration as an invaluable team member!
  10. by   asmurph
    I am a nurse who moved here from the US and am wanting to work in Canada but have yet been able to obtain my registration. Unfortunately Canada treats every immigrant the same and by the time i dispute their desicion to deny me registration, take the exam and finish the paper work it will be close to a year of unemployment. What a crime! at a time of shortage!? The best response from the RNO was that I should have started to process before I left the states. However lucky for me I sold my house in two weeks and was out of there in less than a month. Not sure if that would of helped me that much.

    At this point I'm not sure I want to work for the Canadian Health Care System...if it wasn't for the patients I would be moving on to another career with a lot less red tape.
  11. by   Ginger's Mom
    Are you aware this thread is 8 years old, I bet things have changed quite a bit in 8 years.
  12. by   asmurph
    I am, and actually not much has changed...
  13. by   Silverdragon102
    Quote from asmurph
    I am a nurse who moved here from the US and am wanting to work in Canada but have yet been able to obtain my registration. Unfortunately Canada treats every immigrant the same and by the time i dispute their desicion to deny me registration, take the exam and finish the paper work it will be close to a year of unemployment. What a crime! at a time of shortage!? The best response from the RNO was that I should have started to process before I left the states. However lucky for me I sold my house in two weeks and was out of there in less than a month. Not sure if that would of helped me that much.

    At this point I'm not sure I want to work for the Canadian Health Care System...if it wasn't for the patients I would be moving on to another career with a lot less red tape.
    But the same can be said for the US. You will not be able to work without meeting BON requirements and passing NCLEX and obtaining a work visa if Canadian looking to work in the US. For most they ill not be able to move to the US and wait
  14. by   RGN1
    Bear in mind also that if you're a nurse from another country wanting to work in the USA right now you simply can't get a VISA - even if you've been approved by the relevant BON, have a job & have a work permit approval!!

    The moral of your story is do your homework first. Canada is very fair - if you have done all they ask of you, then you're good to go. You know where you stand.

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